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How is Voter Suppression Tied to Money?

Updated: Aug 5

Most of the time, we don’t think about money having an influence on voting. We live in a country where, in an ideal scenario, everyone has an equal opportunity to cast their vote and share their opinion in the political space. This however, is not always the case. 



With election season right around the corner, it’s a great time to talk about some of the barriers money places on voting and the importance of casting your vote  — no matter the circumstances. 


Studies have shown that individuals who make less money are less likely to vote. This is influenced by a number of reasons, but here are a few big ones.



1. Voter ID Laws.

Most states in the U.S. have voter identification laws; over 30 states have identification requirements when you get to the polls. Some states even have strict guidelines, requiring voters to present specific forms of government issued identification. 




These ID laws create a barrier because...


1. More than 21 million Americans do not possess government-issued photo identification. 

2. Elderly and minority citizens are less likely to have government issued photo identification.

3. Government issued identification can be expensive — ranging from $50 to $300.




2. Voting can mean missing work.

Elections are usually held on work days, during working hours. For a lot of people, this means missing out on potential income to go cast your vote — especially if you are hourly. 


On top of this, having a car or money for public transportation further adds to the expense of voting during your working day. 



3. Voter purges.

Voter purges are a process of cleaning up voter rolls to exclude people that have moved, died, or are ineligible to vote. The issue with this process is that sometimes, people are purged from voter rolls for illegitimate reasons or inaccurate data.





We recently spoke with Ako Asamoah, a designer and graduate from the University of Minnesota, who has some personal experience when it comes to the economic inequalities present in the voting process.


“To my knowledge, economic inequality depresses political interest, discussion, and unfortunately voting for immigrant families. My personal experience coming from an immigrant family, there is an apparent political disconnect mainly because of the lack of resources and knowledge. This is even worse now because of the pandemic. With livelihoods at stake, people of this demographic have much larger things on their plates, it's almost as if the 2020 election in our nation has become background noise to them and even a hopeless nuisance to some.”


It’s important that as we approach this voting season, we are cognizant of the barriers that low income communities face when it comes to voting, especially when the individuals in these communities are immigrants, minorities, or otherwise marginalized groups of people. 


For more information on voting, check out the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Here, you can see answers to tons of FAQs around voting, as well as tips and best practices for going about voting this year. 


Your vote is important, and your voice deserves to be heard in our political system. If you have any questions, or are in need of more resources, feel free to reach out to us here at MoneyVerbs.




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